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The traditional definition of an Audit is to check performance against a standard, as is the case with financial audits. However a knowledge audit works a little differently, its more of a qualitative evaluation. Its essentially an investigation of an organizations knowledge “health”.
For those of you who are confused between a content audit and a knowledge audit : a content audit is focused primarly on the content in the organization. It just identifies what content exists and what doesn’t. Details like what the content is used for isnt really looked into. A knowledge audit on the other hand looks at problems and puts the information in the context of the problem.
The reason a knowledge audit is so vital is because it gives an organization a comprehensive picture of its strengths and weakness, allowing it to focus its efforts in the right direction.
Some of the questions addressed during a knowledge audit are as follows:
- What are the organisation’s knowledge needs?
- What knowledge assets or resources does it have and where are they?
- What gaps exist in its knowledge?
- How does knowledge flow around the organisation?
- What are the blockages that prevent knowledge from flowing across the organization ( people, process , technology ) ?
Once you start asking these questions a clear picture of your organizations knowledge structure will start emerging, and using these results can help you establish processes and systems to tackle certain shortcomings.
Some of the key benefits of a knowledge audit are as follows:
- It helps the organisation clearly identify what knowledge is needed to support overall organisational goals and individual and team activities.
- It provides evidence of the extent to which knowledge is being effectively managed and indicates where improvements are required.
- It provides an evidence-based account of the knowledge that exists in an organisation, how that knowledge moves around in, and is used by, that organisation.
- It provides a map of what knowledge exists in the organisation and where it exists, as well as revealing gaps.
- It reveals pockets of untapped knowledge.
- It provides a map of knowledge and communication flows and networks.
- It provides an inventory of knowledge assets, giving a clearer understanding of the contribution of knowledge to organisational performance.
- It provides vital information for the development of effective knowledge management programmes and initiatives that are directly relevant to the organisation’s specific knowledge needs and current situation.
Future posts will tackle issues like , How do you go about a knowledge audit?, creating a knowledge map …..